What Is The Benefit Of Online Learning

There are quite a few benefits of attending college online. The one the most commonly mentioned is money, as online education typically makes you eligible for many types of grants and scholarships.

That simple yet profound statement struck me the first time I heard it. I had just been promoted, and I was unable to go on a vacation with my husband at the recommendation of my manager. I resolved that “first, second, and last” would always be a priority for me when it came to learning new skills and growing personally and professionally.

I used this newfound framework as the compass for my career progression. I thought of myself as a kind of reverse McElroy—someone who takes a huge learning challenge and brings it to the table at the first opportunity. With a level of enthusiasm and charisma that I was not sure I possessed as an undergrad, I took advantage of each “first” opportunity I got in my career. Often, I would spend weekends getting my master’s in high performance interviewing skills, or making introductions. I parlayed all of these informal learning experiences into a four-year degree—and a “dear colleague” she would go on to hire when I found my first full-time job.

This compass set a baseline for how I approached my career. For me, doing my job doesn’t mean working toward a degree, although I’ve always believed that a degree would serve me well in what I do. Rather, my goal is to have a high level of empathy and the ability to listen that I’ve been so unaware of in the past. I still strive to bring in a new perspective and lesson with every assignment I do.

Keeping up with changes in technology is also important to me. One recent example of how I’ve changed my approach to learning is how I approach the topic of social media. I’ve always been a very big proponent of cultivating relationships and being proactive—both at work and in the real world. So, I embrace social media and work with people I have no actual face-to-face connection with to keep up with trends in media. But as far as learning anything about a specific subject matter—well, I have been told that I am a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to learning and can’t necessarily master only one.

Even though we live in a very different world than when I began my studies at a technical university in the early 1990s, I have found that my mission and purpose at work and in my personal life continues to be to be a learner. I think learning is the process of evolving in self-direction and self-awareness. This has been what I’ve called “learning about myself.” I have learned how to be an entrepreneur, to create new products that have been in the works for years, to develop creative programming, and to network and get better with my colleagues—all without a degree.

As I discuss online learning, the language that is commonly used is the practice of embodied learning. I’ve seen people take online courses for themselves, as part of their professional development, and just as importantly, as part of their personal growth and development. These areas of experiential learning go beyond anything you can obtain in a classroom, in a lecture, or in a video—and I believe that there is very little that can beat the value of learning how to drive value through your self-reinforcement. In fact, there are several studies out there that have shown that active, motivated, and engaged learners were more engaged with the content and learned it faster and with greater quality than those who passively listened.

What it is like to participate in the real world of training, with hands-on examples that are based on real world case studies, no matter what the medium? The pleasure of beaming out a tweet from your car while waiting in traffic and see it land on the front page of Mashable? The satisfaction of completing a complicated video just because you have your iPhone on you and you can’t wait to do it? Having teachers who help you feel like you’re the star of the show instead of an average student in a class that you are subbing into?

The first time I participated in an online training, I was still a graduate student, and it was actually through an email. I had been working on a technology project involving handing out checks to random people when a co-worker suggested I check out distance education. This was my gateway to learning. I loved all the ways it had enabled me to live and work in New York City and to have a fulfilling career without a college degree. I truly believe that online learning will become my norm as I continue my career and take on professional roles.

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